Summer Movie Date Nights: Year Two

I’ll admit my last few entries (IE, every entry this year) have been a little negative, perhaps whiny. I wonder how much of that has to do with cocoon experience of feature film post production. At this point last year, I was beginning the hardest phase of post (DIY sound mixing) and had just lost my day job, hopping headlong into a freelance lifestyle.  This year, my life has found a semblance of balance and clarity. I’m back into a full-time gig, production on the film is reaching its twilight, and family time is at an all-time high. We’ve pulled out of the nose dive, and we’re back to steadily climbing through the clouds. Despite doomsday prophets and tragic disasters, the future is bright, and hopefully future posts will be more Richard Simmons and less Eeyore.

This Summer Movie Season, my wife and I are again going to make time for a date a week, centering on a given movie. The motivation is less dire this go-round, so our rules will be a bit flexible. We’re trying not to cater to opening weekend hype, and we’ll be more apt to skip the features that just look horrible. That could have saved us from some stinkers last year, but again, the motivation was different. I can only pray I’ll never again have to watch Prince of Persia: Sands of Time.
It’s probably no secret, at this point, that the Summer Movie Season is something I love. It has somewhat snuck up on me at this point, but the slate looks fantastic. These movies look much better than those of 2010, one of the worst summers in recent memory (though it was nowhere near as bad as 2001).

Here’s the schedule, kicking off TONIGHT, followed by Cinco de Mayo at Rosie’s in Huntsville!



May 5 – Fast Five

  • Why? The ads you see on facebook work on this meat head. The Rock vs Diesel should have happened a decade ago. Also, I hear the stunts are practical, and the studio’s dexterous handling of the franchise is just plain fascinating.

May 15 – Thor

  • Why? Marvel’s “in-canon” productions have not yet dropped the ball. Last year’s Iron Man 2 was a disappointment, but didn’t fully end the party. Branagh’s take on the god of thunder looks like goofy, glitzy fun.

May 20 – Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

  • Why? I’m actually a fan of the last Pirates film, bloated as it was. While this entry looks like a murky B-squad effort, I’ll always gladly lay down some cash for some jungle adventure.


Drew Struzan originals

June 5 – X-Men: First Class

  • Why? This is more my wife’s jam than mine, as she enjoys the first half of the franchise, as well as the films of one James McAvoy. I’m not sold on Matthew Vaughn, who left a bad taste in my mouth with the tone deaf Kick Ass. All things considered, however, a Space Age take on the early days of the Uncanny X-Men is a brilliant idea, and the first trailer looks good.

June 12 – Super 8

  • Why? Seriously? This is the no-brainer of the summer. Any attempt at bottling “that Amblin feeling” is a noble crusade. Our current plan is to ride our bikes to the theater at magic hour, complete with trading cards strategically placed in our spokes for that authentic engine sound.

June 24 – Green Lantern

  • Why? For me, this is the big question of the season. Will audiences accept such a huge, galactic, bizarre scenario? I’m a fan of Martin Campbell, and I think America’s love for Ryan Reynolds will go a long way in boosting the film’s appeal. Here’s rooting for Hal Jordan.

What does it MEAN!?!


July 4 – Tree of Life

  • Why? This might just be my most anticipated film of the year. With that, I should remind you there are a pair of Spielberg films set to come out this winter. That should say something. I pray that Malick’s latest gets a Huntsville release in time for the 4th.

July 14 – Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows, Part II

  • Why? Although there are other films I’m anticipating more, I’d be a bad husband if I didn’t make sure we got to this thing with a measure of urgency. That said, the last two films have been absolutely fantastic, and I look forward to seeing the characters find resolution.

July 17 – Transformers: Dark of the Moon (Critical Alternate: Cars 2)

  • Why? Absolute morbid curiosity. Like a dog returns to its vomit, I find myself believing Michael Bay’s rhetoric about learning his lesson. Our safety net, if the buzz is as bad as it probably will be, is Pixar’s latest, which is shockingly not
  • on our main schedule.

The Sentinel of Liberty

July 22 – Captain America

  • Why? Cap sits in my ultimate triumvirate of favorite superheroes, along with The Phantom and Superman. This film could be a re-release of the 1990 Matt Salinger debacle and I’d be there. I think I can say that I’ve been on board with this project from the get-go, and nothing I’ve seen so far has me worried. I’m not expecting a Jaws or a Raiders or a Dark Knight, but I’m hoping for a fun summer movie experience.

July 31 – Cowboys & Aliens

  • Why? I can’t put my finger on why, but I’m predicting this to be huge; a Pirates-level sleeper hit. It’ll be a success in my eyes if the tone can match the title, and if Favreau can utilize Ford to his full potential… an impossible feat for- what, a decade*?

August 5 – Rise of the Planet of the Apes

  • Why? I love the conceit of this franchise beyond those fantastic Simpsons jokes, and I return to it every few years. There’s great potential to explore the universe of the original series even further, not evident when looking at Burton’s 2001 re-imagining. The first trailer looks promising.


Do we HAVE to go?

August 12 – Catch Up!

  • Why? This date is to catch any sleepers, oversights, or rare indies we may have missed throughout the summer, like Cars 2 or Cave of Forgotten Dreams. It’s also designed to catch the Spring season gem that we may be missing right this second before it leaves the second-run theaters. Examples of this would be Source Code, Adjustment Bureau, or Rango. Last year we caught How to Train Your Dragon during one of our off weeks, and it turned out to be a highlight of the movie year.


So that’s about it. This really contradict my last blog post about watching less stuff, huh? If you indulge in the popcorn this year, remember to perhaps budget an hour after the movie to talk to someone about it, even if you’re making fun of it. Theatrical viewings are meant to be shared, and the Summer Movie Season will be dead within the next decade if we don’t foster that experience.

What are your most anticipated movies of the summer?




*It was 80% achieved in Indiana Jones & The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.